The Ministry of Maori Development, Te Puni Kokiri, says drug and alcohol courts will not work if there is not a Maori focus in the programme.
The Justice Ministry will launch two pilot courts in Auckland by the end of the year.
The courts will work on getting drug and alcohol dependent offenders over their addictions, rather than sending them straight to jail.
Maori make up about 50% of the prison population and those wanting the drug courts to succeed say Maori must not be ignored.
A Te Puni Kokiri policy manager Harry Tam says the needs of Maori would have to be known before the pilot programme starts.
He says the pilot needs to concentrate on communities, not the individual, if the justice system wants to see change.